tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 15, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
little. we now see them full frontal in the testimony here and you have six lobbyists to every representative is. that the kind of country we want to be? the mugging of the people's good is under way and fast in washington. we need to bring all the attention to bear. and get obama in their too. if he was lobbying for a public option behind the scenes last week, he's got to do it more. >> thank you so much. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. coverage continues with "hardball" here on msnbc. we're back tomorrow night. you're watching the place for politics, msnbc. let's play "hardball." good evening, everybody, i'm
david shuster in washington. it was one of those stories that transfixed the entire nation this afternoon, just after 3:00 eastern time, reports started coming in from ft. collins, colorado, that that experimental balloon, designed by richard heene, had become accidentally untethered and that the man's 6-year-old boy was onboard. there were reports from authorities that the young boy's brother claimed that he and his brother were messing around near the balloon and somehow 6-year-old falcon heene climbed onboard and it became untethered and there happened. for two hours, news helicopters watched as images of this balloon were transmitted around the world literally. and after two hours, the balloon made a miraculous landing of sorts in that it landed much softer than a lot of people feared it would. it landed very softly and authorities punctured the balloon. they looked inside and found
nothing. then the question became, what happened to the boy? authorities back and forth were convinced the boy had been onboard. they conducted a search of the house, they didn't find anything. they reinterviewed the family members and they were still convinced the boy had been onboard. so everybody feared the worst. but an hour ago, just before 6:00 eastern time came the reports from colorado that the boy, 6-year-old falcon heene, had been hiding in his family's attic in a box. the father and the boy within the past half hour walked out to the waiting cameras outside the home and here's what the father had to say. >> here to answer some questions because they told us you guys might bug us all week. >> what happened? >> who asked me that? >> me. >> well, we were working on an experimental craft.
i call it the 3-d lav, low altitude vehicle. it's in the very early stages of the invention. but this little guy decided to keep going inside the utility compartment underneath. so any way, this little guy got inside of it. i thought he did any way. brad said he saw it and he said he videotaped it and we watched it and sure enough he got in. but obviously he got out. he said he was hiding in the attic. because i yelled at him, and i'm really sorry i yelled at him. scared the heck out of us. >> a lot of questions about the
family tonight. michael heene is an amateur scientist who considers himself a form chaser. he and the rest of his family appeared a year ago on the abc reality tv show called "wife swap." and so that has led to a lot of concerns about whether or not that is the complete story that we just heard there from michael heene or whether this was part of some desperate effort to get publicity for his project. he was clearly intrigued and invested in this helium balloon and amateur science to try to understand tornadoes. and again, a lot of questions tonight. through the course of this afternoon, a lot of resources in colorado were spent to try to track the balloon, figure out if there was any way to have some emergency helicopter that might be able to give instructions when everybody thought the boy was onboard. maybe there was some way to get ahold of the lines coming off of it. the colorado national guard dispatched a helicopter this
afternoon, captain michael odgers joins us from the colorado national guard. first of all, your reaction to the news that the boy was never onboard, and that he was safely in his family's attic? captain, can you hear me? >> oh, yes,ky hear you. >> i just want to get your reaction to the news that this was all essentially for naught today. >> i couldn't be happier that the result is the boy ended up alive. i understand that the public is going to be upset that all these resources were spent trying to rescue that boy. but from a parent's perspective, i would rather live with the scorn of the public than their sympathy and still have that boy. we're here to support the local authorities and i wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
all of us here, we were just praying and hoping it would turn out well. we couldn't envision how it could have turned out well, but this is very relieving. >> anything troubling when you hear more about the family's background the fact that they participated in this reality television show "wife swap" that the father considered himself an amateur scientist, a storm chaser, people describe him as somewhat narcissistic, does any of that bother you? >> that's irrelevant to us. the colorado national guard is to serve the public. the public is who we serve and it doesn't matter their background. i wouldn't want that to be a factor on who we choose to rescue and not rescue. >> at a certain point today, we got these report that the colorado national guard dispatched a helicopter. what had you envisioned at the time when everybody thought the boy was onboard, what did you think you might be able to do? >> we really weren't sure.
we have not done a helicopter balloon rescue. that was something we were working on as we were going out there trying to find the balloon. we were considering a number of different options. we we are going to assess the situation to see what we thought was going to be the safest bet to try to get that boy out of there safety without putting our own men at risk and it ended up we didn't have to do anything because the balloon landed. >> captain michael odgers, thank you for your time tonight. there are a lot of questions, of course, today, for the larimer county sheriff's office. there was a news conference in the midst of this drama which a representative came out and said that think believed in fact the boy was inside that craft and had done a thorough search of the home. joining us now is eric neelson. what happened today? >> well, i think you know tstor
very well. we had an incident that began around 11:22 when we got the call. this had been about 20 minutes after the balloon had taken off, i think the parents had done a cursory search, called us and we called in the calvary. a lot of our deputies, search and rescue teams. >> i don't mean to cut you off, but what was it that convinced the sheriff's department that the boy was in fact onboard? >> we had to act under the assumption based on some suggestions or an actual statement by a brother that the boy was either in or playing in this basket up there underneath the balloon. and when the balloon left and we couldn't find the child, that was the only prudent decision we could make and we had to proceed from then on as if that child somehow was in this balloon. we couldn't do any calculations on his weight versus the carrying capacity, we had to get
it spotted, and disabled or brought down as we could. and as it turned out, the balloon was deflating itself, and we didn't ever have to do that. so we had to go with the information at hand and the safety of the child. >> i appreciate that. but there was a statement made pretty detintively and confidently from your office today saying that they were almost certain that the boy was onboard. what was it -- what did the interview with the father, how did that transpire, what did the father say? he mentioned the videotape they looked at. what was that a reference to? >> unfortunately, i've been at the sheriff's office working this incident from my end and i've not been to the incident command post or the scene. i've not participated or heard of any of the interviews, so i can't comment on that. >> what's the process now as far as the sheriff's office in terms
of going back and conducting an after action review. >> we'll be reviewing this and reviewing our procedures and everything else. this is a child who presumably, and stress on the word presumably, wanted to stay hidden. he did come out on his own, i understand. he was hiding in a box in the attic. we did a pretty thorough search of the house, under the bed, in the basement, in the broom closet, and the fact that it didn't occur to anybody to go up and look in a box in the attic is, in my personal opinion, reasonably understandable. but we'll be looking at that and other things. but unfortunately i can't speak for the sheriff of larimer county. and i'm getting any information more or less secondhand and i apologize for that. >> we appreciate you joining us. >> thank you, sir. >> obviously everyone very glad that this was in fact a little
boy who, for whatever reason, decided that he didn't want to -- he wanted people to think that he had been onboard or maybe his brother wanted to, and the little boy, falcon, 6 years old, decided to hide in the attic for several hours and despite the search and despite their interview with the father and other family members that left them convinced the boy was onboard. in fact, he was never onboard. he was hiding in a box in the attic. joining us now is nbc's lana greg who joins us from denver. this is a story that has been wall-to-wall in denver and across colorado. explain what the mood is right now and what people in colorado are saying about this. >> it's been a dramatic day to say the least. and now this shocking ending. first, we thought we had a little boy who floated away in a balloon and the balloon looked a lot like a spaceship. then came that horrible news
that there was a safe landing but there was no boy inside. since then, there have been dozens of people searching for him, helicopters in the air and people were hoping for the best. but suspecting possibly the worst. and now this good news that he was in fact hiding upstairs in the attic. so a lot of questions do remain. they want to know why he did it. he just now was with his mom and dad and appeared before the media. his father said he and his brother were playing as he was working on this homemade aircraft and he scolded him, he said he yelled at him and turned to the little boy and said i'm sorry i did that, and kissed and hugged him. and he was so relieved to have his little boy back in his arms. so right now, we're presuming he did something that he felt like he shouldn't have done, and he hid and just heard all of the commotion and came out on his own. so a dramatic turn of events, but what a story. >> leeann, what's the latest
information we have about richard heene? taken together as we try to describe their interest in this experimental helium balloon and he's a storm chaser and reports that he has been pretty tough with his kids. his kids apparently use foul language a lot. a lot of things that would strike a lot of people as unusual and weird. what else do we know about richard heene and this idea that maybe, and we have no evidence to back this up, but the theory a lot of people have is maybe this was part of a publicity stunt. >> that's a good question and i'm sure that's what authorities are going to be digging into in the coming days. they called themselves the science detectives. they're really into creating new things, they're inventors, in to science and storm watchers. and that is one of the questions, not only of what they
were up to and if, by chance, this was all a big hoax. but why they were building this aircraft and what caused the circumstances surrounding the event that made authorities believe that the little boy was missing. so more questions than answers at this point. >> indeed. leanne greg in denver, thank you very much. coming up, much more on this incredible story. 6-year-old falcon heene found safely onboard after fears he was onboard a helium balloon that reached heights as much as 10,000 feet before making a dramatically soft landing in a field near the denver international airport. much more as the investigation continues. later, the sacking of rush limbaugh as part of the group trying to buy the st. louis rams. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. (announcer) we call it the american renewal
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he's okay, he's alive, he's at the house. so all of the reports that we had earlier, fortunately, misinformation. >> that was just the latest dramatic turn in a very bizarre story today that had a roller coaster like feel for everybody that was watching. 6-year-old falcon heene had been believed to have been onboard that helium-like aircraft that traveled for two hours over the skies of colorado before coming to a much softer than expected landing. the family is listening -- the family is talking right now outside their home. the boy has been found alive but a lot of questions for them. let's listen. >> i'm going to -- [ inaudible ]
>> okay, guys. [ inaudible question ] >> did you see him get in? >> how did the balloon get loose? how did we go from maybe the kid getting inside the craft to the thing coming untethered? >> well, there was a mishap. i'm not going to lay blame on anybody. it was supposed to be tethered down. it wasn't tethered properly, and it took off. the experiment should have lasted 20, 30 days. >> did you call the cops or what? what did you do, call 911? >> my first call, well, first thing i didn't believe brad, so
we ran around the house yelling for falcon. and then shortly thereafter i had called the faa. i figured that was the one to call because they could track it and watch which direction is it going. >> brad, how did it come undone? >> what is your wife's name? >> we want to get back right now. >> did you want to say anything to the searchers? >> i'm sorry, what? >> did you want to say anything to the searchers? >> oh, gosh, yeah, yeah. that's probably the biggest reason i wanted to come out here. i really want to thank the local police department, the sheriff, and all their efforts. you guys are great. i want to thank the news helicopters that were out on the search. i heard they were out there first. >> thank you so much. >> they got reports back of what
was going on. that kept us going. >> how old are they? >> 6, 8 and 10. >> has the sheriff's department said whether they're sending you a bill? >> i hope not. >> tell us how you felt the first time you saw your son this afternoon. >> oh, buddy, oh, my legs got weak. i wouldn't even walk. right now my legs are weak and that's kind of why i want to go back and sit down. i'm out of energy right now. >> well, that was richard heene and his family and their latest sort of semi news conference. that was from tape a short time ago. a lot of people might find it curious in the midst of the chaos, suspecting that your child is onboard a runaway helium balloon that you would call the federal aviation administration as opposed to
calling 911. but he said it there. i'm not sure many of us would have the faa number in our area. but richard heene is a storm chaser, and he said he had been putting in 20 or 30 days' supply of helium in that thing and clearly, at least it's seen there, he wanted to thank the news media for tracking this and also thank authorities for tracking it and putting so many resources into it. joining us is brandan williams, the public information officer for the colorado division of emergency management. i wonder if there's a way to put a price tag in terms of how much was spent to track this balloon and figure this one out today. >> we can sort that out in the next few days. obviously we're all at work. this is what we do. and the two most important things today are, one, that the child is okay. there are a lot of parents that work here and we were very relieved. second thing though to remember
is that no responding agency had a book on the shelf that said child in balloon that they could pull down and look at. but today the existing procedures we put them into play and everybody from the local to the state level to liaison with the national guard came together to make sure we were tracking the balloon, we knew where it landed and we were able to help coordinate local and state resources to make sure that everything was okay. >> i know that there are people, there are a lot of hot air balloon enthusiasts in colorado and other states. is there any, i don't know, do you have any idea of should this sort of thing happen again, or should there be an accident involving one of these tour operators of what you would do? what did you learn about today? >> sure. the first thing that happened when we were notified from our local and regional emergency managers is we established a hotline with the air national guard knowing that this was something in the air over
colorado. we knew we needed to get them involved and start coordinating information back and forth. we established lines of communication with the command on site. we contacted denver national airport emergency center, got in touch with the governor's office to begin projecting what an assessment was, if requests started to happen. thankfully we didn't get to a point today where we had any formal requests. but it's necessary to put those plans into play and move in that direction. even when the craft touched down on the ground, the next priority was search and rescue and if it extended beyond mutual aid agreements what type of resources we might be able to provide and making sure we were able to assist locals for what they needed on site. >> you're looking at falcon heene, the 6-year-old boy who was hiding in the attic. the reason we're not bringing you these comments is you can't hear them because of the helicopters and all the noise. so we're going to try to, based
on some of the local reporters on the ground, find out exactly what the 6-year-old boy is saying about this episode and we'll bring that information to you. finally, brandan, anything about this -- one thing i have a question for you, and that is we heard richard heene say that the first phone call he made was to the faa. i can't imagine that is what you want people to do when they get into this sort of trouble again. you still want people to call 911, right? >> 911 is always the default to call with any information. you got a gut feeling that something doesn't look right, feel right or something is going wrong, you call 911. >> bran den williams from the colorado department involved in coordinating the response today, thank you so much. up next, we'll get insight from the heene family. their appearance on "wife swap" reality tv program and exactly how they were perceived by their neighbors. we'll talk to one of the neighbors. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. national car rental? that's my choice.
and we continue to follow the amazing story out of colorado. a boy who was believed to be in a helium balloon that drifted over the skies of colorado for two hours. turns out he was not in the balloon, he was in the family's home all along. richard heene, the father there, came out just a few minutes ago and said that he yelled at his child. there was also according to the boy told reporters a few minutes ago the reason he hid is because he heard his father yelling about the balloon and got scared. so then rather than come out and say i'm here, the boy hid in a box. joining us now is bob liko, a neighbor of the heene family. bob, is there anything you can describe about this family that, i don't know, that puts all of this together for us? >> well, i don't know if i can or not. he likes to do a lot of experiments with various kinds of things.
he's a bit of a scientist, a storm chaser. i guess this balloon he was using for what purpose i'm not sure. but he had helium in the backyard. i didn't see the balloon takeoff. but i saw the boys this morning on the roof. they hollered at me as i was leaving for errands this morning and saying their brother was up in the air. >> were the boys practical jokers as far as you know? >> no, not that kind of thing. i believed them when they said that. >> and did you know about the helium balloon project? did richard ever talk about it or discuss what he was up to? >> no, i talked with him about a number of the other projects but i wasn't aware of this one. >> did he seem like he was all together? i don't know how to put this, was he sane, rational, did he seem like a normal guy who just had some unusual interests? >> yeah. no, i think he just had some unusual interests and fairly
sane fellow, yeah. >> bob, thank you for coming on. up next, we'll turn to what was a very busy day in politics as well as big news involving rush limbaugh. he was tacked today by a friend of his. the group trying to buy the st. louis rams said limbaugh was too much of a distraction and they're going to move forward without him. is rush finally being held accountable for the things he says? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. ♪ ooh, yeah wiggle your day with jell-o sugar-free gelatin.
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rush's words have knocked him out as a potential owner of the nfl st. louis rams. chris matthews talked about it with the reverend al sharpton and pat buchanan. >> you've got your game face on still, reverend. was this a good sack, was this the right thing to do to knock this guy out of contention as the potential co-owner of an nfl team? >> yes, i do. it started when the players themselves objected to it based on the fact that mrs. lum baugh had made certain statements such as saying that the nfl now looked like the cripps and the bloods without weapons. making derogatory statements against donovan mcnabb. and i think that if you want to be an nfl owner, you have to be accountable for what you say about those that generate the money in that league. and i think that mr. limbaugh, who has made a career out of holding people accountable, had to be accountable to his own
statements, and i think he ultimately was. let's remember here, chris, his name was withdrawn by those that submitted his name. the nfl, nobody disqualified him. they withdrew his name, so he can have all of these grandiose ideas of a conspiracy. what sacked him was the people that brought him to the party withdrew him from the party. >> let's go over this. i know he made the comment about the teams acting like the the cripps and the bloods, acting like an l.a. street gang against another l.a. street gang. i get that. he said he said the wrong words by suggesting names of gangs that are, i believe, mainly african-american. but here's the question, he also made other comments about donovan mcnabb over the years. i remember that comment saying that the press was in love with the guy because he's an african-american but he really wasn't that good a quarterback. well, people who watch the nfl can make their own mind up about that situation. seems like mcnabb's winning that argument. but are there any other statements he's made over his long radio career? he's on about three hours a day every day.
can you add up more than those two comments that might be called insensitive at least? >> i mean, there probably are, but i don't think they're material here. those are the two i raised to the nfl. those are the ones the nfl players raised. we're not talking about his politics here or even his racial views. we're talking about he's asking to be part of an ownership of a team that will vote on the decisions of nfl contracts for players, vendors, stadium workers, and what he says about that industry is pregnant. i think they're trying to broaden the argument, it's a very narrow argument, about the nfl and about the privilege of being part of the ownership. he has the right to apply. he does not have the right to be an owner. that's up to the nfl. but what happened here is the people that were bringing him in decided to withdraw him. and i think that all of these other implications really don't deal with the fact that the people that thought he was an asset began to think he was a
liability. he's trying now to make this like this is some wounding of american conservativism. he was rejected by his own partners ultimately. >> let's take a look at this from another point of view, pat buchanan. >> yeah, i think his act was shabby, vindictive, petty. it is disgusting in this sense. chris, you and i have made controversial statements to reverend al sharpton and the brawly hoax case and duke case which turned out to be a hoax, have made statements we regret and apologize for. at the same time to blacklist an individual like they do out in hollywood because they thought they were communist that cost them their jobs because of something they said. those folks did terrible things. to do this this rush limbaugh. look, i heard his statements on donovan mcnabb. we talked in the campaign. journalists went in the tank for barack obama. some of us said that. did that disqualify us from a job? he was wrong about mcnabb. mcnabb had a great season this
year, so he made a wrong statement. you deny a man a position like that, this is black listing in my judgment. it's contemptible. liberals used to condemn it. >> first of all, i felt -- and still do -- that barack obama inspired me in that campaign. >> i'm not talking about you. >> in the tank if you want. i'll stand by my words. here we are in that regard. let's take a look -- she can respond as well. reverend? >> yes, first of all, i had nothing to do with the duke case. again, let's not rewrite history. i had nothing to do with the duke case. and my representing someone 22 years ago is certainly at lot different than someone making statements about someone if he's going to say something about my employment, i don't want him involved. if someone wants to take a deposition, they have a right to take a deposition against you, me or pat buchanan. i don't know how you miss apples and oranges. those players had a right to raise a question about what he said about them. >> i'm not saying they don't have a right to do it. i'm commenting about what they
did. reverend sharpton, if you were part of a group that was going to buy a baseball team, don't think conservatives in this country would say, no, let's cut that fellow out because of what he said 20 years ago or what he said down there in louisiana in that case -- >> i do. >> look, i don't think they would stop you. >> pat, i think conservatives tried to hold barack obama responsible for what his former pastor said, not what even he said. how are you saying that? we saw a whole year where barack obama was questioned about everything his former pastor said for 20 years on whether he was qualified to be president of the united states. we can't ask rush limbaugh about what he said himself? not his pastor, not his former pastor. what he said. >> sure. >> what do you mean, gentlemen? here's what rush limbaugh said about reverend sharpton earlier this week. let's listen to limbaugh himself.
>> i know reverend sharpton. sharpton's better than this. he knows better than this. you know, i didn't judge al sharpton's fitness to be in radio when he wanted to earn an honest living for once. given his well documented past, the author of the brolley hoax, i believe in second chances, and i also don't discriminate. >> pat? >> i think rush makes a very good point. i have condemned reverend sharpton over the years and criticized what he said. i have written columns about him. i'm sure he said things about me. but the idea of going after people the way they're making a living. chris, the real problem in america is not rush limbaugh or chris matthews or pat buchanan or al sharpton, it is censorship. it is people trying to silence people, to cost them their profession, their jobs, because of what they said. even michael savage, people go over the line. what we ought to be standing up for is the right of people to speak their minds and make their living. this is so petty, i can't believe it. >> let's take a look at what rush said about the nfl. let's let rush limbaugh get in there one more time.
here's rush limbaugh and what he had to say about the nfl. let's listen. >> it's about rush more than me. this is just the latest assault on people who believe in rugged individualism and liberty and freedom who threaten the whole notion of state-controlled tyranny and the central command authority. which is what is typified by the obama administration. and now the democrat party. >> that's the question, reverend. and you're as wise as anybody at this table, obviously. you can make a judgment. is this about words? you mentioned two statements he made as objectionable. fair enough. would those statements as objectionable as they are the basis for denying someone a chance to make a major economic investment in a pro football team, yes or no? those two statements alone, you seem to imply that they were disqualifying. >> no. what the answer is, he was not disqualified. he was withdrawn.
if in fact he and his partners felt so strongly about it, his partners should have fought all the way to the nfl and see if he was qualified or not. just like they had the right to apply, we had the right to say we oppose the application. he had the right to go forward. >> you're dodging the question here. reverend, did you oppose -- >> you're trying to misconstrue what happened here. >> no, no. you're taking your own responsibility aside. i'm saying you're a powerful voice in this country. when you speak out, let's face it, the buildings shake. people do listen to you. you had a lot to do with the noise level here. certainly the players association was determinant because they are the value of the guys on the field who make the money for these owners. yeah, we know that. but you got out there and joined their case. are you saying right now that you think rush limbaugh should have been allowed to buy part of that team or not? what do you think, in your judgment, based on those two statements by him? >> i think in my judgment, if rush limbaugh was part of a group that was competing with other groups, and the other groups were able to show that
they could do it financially and they had not made offensive statements against the players that generate the money, then i would have ruled for the other groups because i think what rush limbaugh did would be something that would be detrimental in competing with other groups. you got to remember, this was a bidding process. >> those two statements is all i'm asking. those two statements you say disqualified him in your light? >> in my light, i would have voted against him if i was one of the other owners and some of the other owners did. >> that's the point here. >> look, he wasn't engaged in dogfighting. he wasn't engaged in shooting himself in the leg. the other guys have been arrested, implicated in murders. everyone says give him a second chance, let him play in the nfl. and because he said some sportswriter cut slacks for donovan mcnabb, maybe they did or maybe they didn't, the idea this was a moral disqualification, what kind of moral community is the nfl owners? >> many of us supported that michael vick should have been held accountable for dogfighting and plaxico.
so we had the right to say that donovan mcnabb -- i mean that michael vick was wrong but we didn't have the right to say mr. limbaugh was wrong? >> why not cutting some lack? let vick play now. he did his time. >> pat, we're not talking about him losing his job on the radio. no one is saying he shouldn't be on the air. no one is saying he shouldn't have a job. we're saying he shouldn't be an owner of a team and not deal with what he said. we're not attacking his livelihood. >> what did you say about don imus? didn't you say he should be taken off the air? >> we're saying sponsors should not underwrite -- we're saying sponsors should not underwrite what he said. sponsors agree. they withdrew him. >> you are campaigning to get this guy knocked off the air for two hours in the morning. >> and don imus, you're absolutely right. he should have been fired. don imus would be the best witness for us in this case. he said it himself, he should have been fired. >> are you proud of what did you in that case?
>> especially after don imus said i was right, absolutely. i think he learned his lesson. >> well, this is a hot issue. thank you, reverend sharpton, as always, sir. thank you for coming on. i think you were a big part in this issue. i think you demur on your authority. i think it's wrong. you carry a lot of weight in this country, and you know it. thank you for coming on this program. wow. up next, would you believe hillary clinton is more popular right now than president obama? we'll get into that next in the "politics fix." this is "hardball" only on msnbc. tools are uncomplicated?
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we're back. and time now for the "politics fix." we're joined by "the washington post" kerry bacon and ken vogel. there was this fascinating poll by gallop that measured the favorability of secretary of state hillary clinton and barack obama and compared their numbers now and before. hillary clinton now, 62%, that's down from 65, but only down slightly. perry, hillary clinton, more popular than president obama. what do you make of it? >> not surprising. i think that president obama is sort of in the arena right now. he's being attacked every day by republicans. he's being attacked by democrats at times. he's in the arena, versus senator clinton is representing america -- secretary clinton win
means. a different role than she was in before. not a political role. i'm not surprised she's not generating as much negativity right now. >> and ken, in addition to the idea that hillary clinton is being seen as above politics, is this any reflection that people are somehow pleased with how she's handling foreign policy? >> perhaps. i mean, she's real come into her own. and this is the secretary of state role is really turning out to be a capstone to a truly historic career. she said recently that she would not consider running for president again, and this looks like a great way to sort of establish and reinforce her legacy going out. her popularity numbers, her favorability are similar to what they were after the impeachment of her husband in the late '90s. and it's worth comparing those two, because at the time, that was more of a sort of sympathy rating and sympathy approval. now she has really establishe e edded her own identity, as a senator, and now as secretary of
state. it really shows that she is her enentity. >> ken, is there still a rivalry between hillary clinton and barack obama? >> i don't know. they've done a very effective job at making sure that they're on the same page. she is really carrying out his foreign policy and that's somewhat surprising, looking back to the campaign, when they had sharp differences over foreign policy. i think that they've done an effective job speaking with one voice. >> perry, do you want to jump into whether or not there's still a rivalry between hillary clinton and barack obama? >> i think we don't know. i think as far as we know, they've got along pretty well from everything i've heard about them right now. one thing ken said was, about a week ago, she said in an interview she was never, not ever, no, no, no running for president. a few days later, she said, i don't intend to run for president, or something like that. so i think she's leaving some opening. it's so early to declare yourself out of something in 2009 that won't happen until
2016. >> and one thing i will say. >> go ahead, real quickly. >> she still has a huge base of support and a number of loyalists within the democratic party that would probably drop everything and work for her. and it should be noted that those loyalists, with those are the once that still feel a rivalry and they're the ones that still feel some bitterness. it would be interesting. >> and they're the ones that are also -- they're the ones that are also not shy about pointing owl a poll like this one. we'll be back with more of the politics fix after this. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. s? the sparkly flakes. the honey-baked bunches! the magic's in the mix. my favorite part? eating it. honey bunches of oats. taste the joy we put in every spoonful. honey bunches of oats. we call the bunches in honey bunches of oats the prize in the box. well, now there's a prize inside the prize. pecans! pecans! baked into crunchy oat bunches. taste the delicious surprise in every spoonful. new honey bunches of oats with pecan bunches.
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we're back with "the washington post," perry bacon and politico's ken vogel. there was an intrigue development reported by our own luke russert from msnbc. one of them took an unusual procedural step to send the bill they've previously passed to the budget committee, notifying the budget committee this may be passed under budget reconciliation. the idea being, one of the bills is armed so if the senate eventually wants to take this up with that same process of reconciliation, they can. the bottom line is, perry and ken, there's now this procedural possibility, at least, that the democrats will try to pass health care with 51 votes instead of 60. perry, what's the latest reporting you have on whether or not they intend to follow through? >> they're pretty committed to the 60 votes. they have 60. they have 60 democratic leaning
votes. they have olympia snowe, so 61. they're pretty committed to taking the bill they have now and looking to merge it and put it together. but using the current numbers they have and not doing -- they think the 50 reconciliation process is very divisive and trying too avoid that if they can. >> ken, this is just sort of a backup option that the house is arming the senate with in case, for whatever reason, they cannot get to the 60 votes because democrats peel off or because harry reid decides the public option must be there and he can't get to 60 with it in. >> perhaps. and it's one that would really be sort of hard-pressed to employ, both because it would sort of prompt this divisiveness that perry was talking about, and additionally, there were some parliamentary questions that would limit their ability to have as sweeping as a reform proposal as they would like. of course, on the other side of the coin, their going to have to make some compromises. they already have made some significant compromises, even pursuing this through the sort of normal legislative channels. either way, they're not going to
get everything that they want, the democrats who have really, aggressively pushed for sweeping health care and the public option, for instance. >> and as far as the public option, house speaker nancy pelosi, she was more aggressive today in support of the public option than anything i've seen in months. and she's doing this at a time when she knows, over in the senate, harry reid doesn't have 60 votes for the public option. what's pelosi up to as far as the dynamic with reid? >> she's playing to her base. the democrats really want this, liberals really want this and they're going to have to answer to some angry constituents if they don't get it. of course, on the other side, this is deemed as really the thing that republicans are most opposed to. so she is not sort of speaking the language of compromise that we see more in the senate, coming out of the senate finance committee. >> and perry, if you're harry reid and you don't like the idea that the house speaker is essentially saying, hey, it's your fault if the public option isn't in